Advocacy Update: March 2020

FY21 Education Budget

On February 10, 2020, the Trump Administration released its FY21 Budget, which cuts the U.S. Department of Education funding by nearly 8 percent. The proposal consolidates 29 major K-12 programs—including Title I, Title II, and Title IV — into a single, $19.4 billion block grant.

The 29 programs currently receive $24.1 billion in federal funding, meaning the block grant would cut funding to these programs by $4.7 billion. You can view a list of the 29 programs and their current funding levels here: https://bit.ly/2T8lPQF

NAESP released the following statement on the administration’s education budget proposal:

“NAESP has significant concerns with the President’s FY21 Budget, which would shortchange schools and undercut principals’ capacity to serve all students. The proposal would cut funding to the Department of Education by 8 percent and would consolidate 29 federal K-12 programs into a single block grant, forcing schools to compete for fewer funds. Principals are on the frontlines and see firsthand everyday how federal education funding bolsters student achievement, helps ensure safe and welcoming learning environments, and supports principal and teacher professional development. Thus, any effort that reduces investments in schools and makes it harder for principals to do their jobs is a non-starter.

Now more than ever, Washington needs to increase funding for K-12 schools across the country. NAESP calls on Congress to pass an FY21 budget that bolsters investments in critical programs like Title I, Title II-A, Title IV, IDEA, school-based mental health services, and supports for principals to lead high-quality learning communities that serve all students.”

Vaping Bill Advances

On February 28, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to advance the “Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act,” which would prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products to youth. The bill aims to stem the dramatic rise in youth vaping, which is a public health crisis and is threatening the health of American children. A staggering 5 million U.S. kids now use e-cigarettes. Aside from the unknown long-term health consequences, e-cigarettes could become an on-ramp to nicotine addiction for a generation of youth. NAESP supports this legislation because health experts have indicated that banning flavored e-cigarettes would make vaping significantly less attractive to youth.

Please contact your Senators and urge them to pass this critical legislation.

Push for Schools to Be Included in House Infrastructure Package

In early February, House Democrats released a national infrastructure plan, dubbed “Moving America and The Environment Forward,” which would boost investments in highways, transit, and rail infrastructure. The proposal did not include public schools as an eligible entity to receive funds. Speaker Pelosi, in her announcement of the legislation, noted however that the final infrastructure package would address public school facilities. NAESP endorsed the Rebuild America's School Act (RASA), which passed the Education and Labor Committee in February 2019, and is pushing House leadership to include in the final infrastructure package.

Per-Pupil Expenditure Webinar

A new public-reporting requirement included in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that directly impacts principals is now taking effect across the country. The new requirement means states will have to calculate spending of local, state, and federal dollars by school and to make public a “per pupil expenditure” (PPE). Previously, states have been required to report at the district level but not down to the school level. The per pupil calculation must include the actual costs including salaries and benefits of teachers, administrators and other school staff, instructional expenses, and transportation, among other expenses. This information provides new opportunities for all stakeholders to ask important questions regarding how resources are distributed within the district.

NAESP partnered with the Collaborative for Student Success to host a webinar on the PPE requirement, discuss what it means for principals, and highlight some resources to help principals communicate with stakeholders on PPE data. Attendees asked a number of questions, including the implications of teacher salaries in this calculation.